The Cameron County Sheriff’s Department now has a new system that can capture, store, and compare an inmate’s information through their iris.
The private company Biometric Intelligence and Identification Technologies has offered sheriffs’ departments along the border a free, three-year trial of its IRIS, or Inmate Reference Information System identification program.
“It enables us to compare the unique features contained in the human iris against the initial database of individuals who have been previously enrolled throughout the country by positively identifying them in seconds,” said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
According to the company, the technology gives fewer false matches than fingerprinting. The system uses inmate’s eyes to determine if they are who they say they are, as well as store their information for when they are released or if they are re-arrested.
The sheriff’s office already uses the scanner in the department’s day-to-day policing.
“We’re close to Mexico right now because of all of the problems that we’re having out there– because of the cartel, the illegals crossing out here, kids coming out here by themselves and what have you,” said Lucio. “So, this was the reason that they felt that this would be a good place.”
Lucio says the technology will also help deputies identify undocumented immigrants and ensure inmates with similar names aren’t released prematurely.
In the coming months, counties along and near the border will also be implementing the IRIS program.
After the three-year trial, the department will have the option of keeping the program for an annual fee.